British artist Norman Wilkinson first developed the concept of ‘dazzle’ camouflage in 1917. Far from attempting to hide a vessel against its environment, Wilkinson's idea was to use vivid, asymmetric patterns to create optical illusions instead. When painted on to boat hulls these patterns would obscure the speed and direction of the ship, making them difficult for enemies to target. During the First World War, this form of camouflage was applied to over 2,000 troop and merchant ships.
Dazzle became less useful by the time of the Second World War as rangefinders and aircraft became more advanced. Yet it remained effective underwater, finding use on a smaller scale to confound enemy submarines.
As much as dazzle was designed for obfuscation, for us it has provided a precise and key inspiration for the graphic story of AW16. Keep a look out for interweaving stencil patterns and geometric designs in flattering tones of navy and grey.
Taking our inspiration a step further, this season we're introducing indigo dye into the mix. In the same way that First World War dazzle was unique to each ship, the indigo dye and acid wash finishes used across our jersey wear offer an ever-so-slightly distinct pattern for every piece. This means that whichever one you end up with will be unique.
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